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Decisions to destination- time to start reviewing your admitted school list.

Believe it or not, knowing your college destination is just around the corner! While you may be stuck in the “friend zone” for college admissions, aka waiting to hear admission news, there are some details to take note of this year as you continue to hear from schools, one of which is that some schools (not all schools) are pushing back when you need to send in your deposit and SIR in response to the delays in FAFSA information making its way to schools. For example, both the UCs and CSUs have adjusted their decision deadline to May 15th.  You will want to familiarize yourself with what the schools on your list are doing - so read your emails so you don't miss any key information. 


That being said, you want to take advantage of the time leading up to that deadline, whether May 1st, 15th, or a TBD date, and start reviewing the schools you have been admitted to. 


While it is often the case that deciding where to attend college is the culmination of the college search and application process, learning how to make that decision is also very much a part of the process. One method to help students with the decision phase is comparing “apples to apples” regarding potential college choices by re-visiting and prioritizing their initial college experience criteria. Remembering those critical aspects is often the easy part, but assigning value and importance to each particular criteria may be more challenging.  The initial college application list may look uniform with consistent criteria that check all the boxes for each student, whether that be a preference for a large public university, a major metropolitan area, a research university, or a liberal arts school surrounded by rolling hills. Once acceptances are known, that list shifts. Where there once were 10-12 schools, now there may be three, five, or seven schools to choose from. It was not surprising when one of my students said to me that their list looked more like apples, kiwis, and mangoes. To move forward and choose, however, students need to understand the specific nuances, i.e., whether and why a certain kind of apple, kiwi, or mango is best for them.


Excerpt from "apples, kiwis, mangoes - deciding where to attend" dream. search. apply. A Field Guide for an Inspired College Journey

Steps You Can Take NOW to Review Schools You’ve Been Admitted To:


  1. Attend Admitted Student Days or visit schools you've been admitted to, whether in-person or virtual. 

  2. Talk to student Ambassadors or friends at each school you are admitted to (and waitlisted at).

  3. Review the aspects you want for your college experiences, like majors, flexibility in changing majors, academic rigor, career placement and alumni connections, college vibe, student support services, etc.

  4. Check on Instagram feeds for Admissions posts and student-led posts to get the "inside view."

  5. Even if you're waiting on FAFSA and financial packages from schools, start reviewing all college costs (tuition, room & board, books & supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous student fees and costs). As you receive financial packages, look closer at costs and include any potential merit, need, or other financial aid to help determine the financial "fit." Pay attention to what is free money, e.g., a scholarship vs. a loan. Remember to calculate for four and six years – especially if comparing public universities to private schools.


If you're waiting to hear from highly selective schools, there may be a few twists ahead with application numbers up. But with known options in hand and choices to make, you want to shift your attention to the "decision phase" of your college journey and leverage your time now versus waiting until the end of March to review the schools you've been admitted to. This may include college visits to do the gut check and affirm your decision. 


In the past, some schools, like the UCs, managed their enrollment through their waitlists. If you are waitlisted, opting into one or two can be a good thing, but you will still want to be ready to commit to one of your accepted colleges by May 1st (or the school's identified commitment date) and submit your enrollment deposit, and sign up for housing, while you're waiting to hear. Waiting out a waitlist for a highly selective school is a different endeavor, and the stats on late admittance are not always optimal, so you want to develop a plan based on what is known, e.g., your admitted schools. 


Looking for more tips and inspiration to help you start your college journey? A Field Guide for an Inspired College Journey packed with insights and resources to help you navigate your college path, is now available to order online and coming soon to your local bookstore.

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